Giveaway: 2 winners to see Fluff at Walton Arts Center!

Fluff-Web-Ad-266x375Alas, Spring Break is over. But we’ve got something to cheer you up!

We’re giving away two family packs to see the kids’ show Fluff at Walton Arts Center. TWO MAMAS will win — and each will receive four tickets!

Fluff will appear at WAC on April 13 at 2 p.m.

ABOUT THE SHOW: Fluff is a fun, simple Australian theater piece best for children ages 4-10. During the show, viewers meet the Ginghams, a family that worries about lost and discarded toys and travels the world to find them.

As each toy is introduced one by one, audiences will learn the story of how it came to be lost and its journey to a new home. After receiving a movement, a vocal sound, a piece of music and a nightlight, watch as the Gingham family safely tucks each toy back into bed.

Fluff has been acclaimed for its originality and its combination of song, movement, projection and audience participation.

With a bright set and plenty of song and dance, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy. New technology and handmade toys combine throughout the show to create an original performance that children and parents alike can appreciate.

“One of the most imaginative shows for the young you will find. Highly sophisticated and great fun…the children – and the adults – loved it!” –The Advertiser (Sydney Opera House season)

“The laughs come as much from the adults in the audience as their enthralled children” –The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

HOW TO ENTER: If you’d love to win one of these four-packs of Fluff tickets, just leave a comment telling us about one of your FAVORITE childhood toys. You can also email your answer to us at

Here’s a video so you can get a feel for this (hilarious!) show:

INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: If you’d like to increase your odds of winning these great tickets, just share! Email friends and family about the giveaway and CC us so we’ll be sure to give you credit. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for each person you tell. The email is

(You can also earn an extra chance to win by signing up to receive the free email newsletter we send once a week. The sign-up box is at the top right of this page.)

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

TICKET INFO: Click HERE or call the Walton Arts Center Box Office at 479-443-5600 for more info on tickets to this one-day-only performance.

Good luck!

Video: Mom Prom shopping trip!

It’s certainly not mandatory to go shopping before you go to the NWA Mom Prom on April 26th. We guarantee that you already have something in your keep-calm-and-go-to-nwa-mom-promcloset that would work just great. Or you could always borrow a dress or find an awesome deal at a consignment shop. That’s what lots of women did before last year’s Mom Prom and they all looked AMAZING.

BUT… if you’re like us and you don’t mind having a good excuse to hit the mall… well, you know the rest of this story. And it’s SO much more fun to shop with a friend!

So Shannon and I spent a recent Friday scouring some of the stores at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade to help us get our prom look put together. Specifically, we wanted a little “special occasion” hair advice, some new make-up tips for a fun “evening look,” and last but definitely not least — an awesome dress.

Here’s where we went:

  • Brieshi Salon & Spa (for hair advice and some much-needed fluffing and styling) Brieshi is also the sponsor of the “Glam Squad” which will be on-site at this year’s Mom Prom to touch up your make-up and hair before photos!
  • Sephora (for makeovers and tips from two amazing make-up artists)
  • Dillard’s (for the pretty dresses and shoes, of course!)

We had lots of help finding the right Prom look from the people at Pinnacle Hills Promenade. (The mall is also sponsoring this year’s Mom Prom Swag Bags, and they’re going to be awesome!) By the end of the day, we really did feel a little like Cinderella getting all dressed up for the ball. We snapped some photos and took a few videos to document our trip. Hope you enjoy it!

Mamas on Magic 107.9: Let’s act a fool this week!

Image credit:© Beaniebeagle |

We’re celebrating all kinds of foolish things this week during our Mamas on Magic 107.9 radio segments. Tomorrow (April 1st) is April Fool’s Day so it’s the perfect time to cut loose a little.

Listen to each day’s radio segment by turning the radio dial to Magic 107.9 at 7:45 a.m. each weekday.

If you happen to miss a segment, just click the audio bars below to hear them online:

Monday’s segment:

 Tuesday’s segment:

Wednesday’s segment:

Thursday’s segment:

Friday’s segment:

Devotion in Motion: A Life Lived on High Beam

Patty edited14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

As technology races forward, there are still some things worthy of a look toward the past. Even though most of today’s correspondence is sent via electronic devices like smartphones, there’s still no substitute for a card or letter sent through the good ole U.S. Snail-Mail.  Admit it, when you find a personal note in your mailbox, you open that envelope before you look at anything else.

The idea may sound a little outdated, but I have a pen pal. Her name is Patricia Drischel, and she is 93 years young. Several years ago, I placed a free want ad in a magazine asking for various items in Latin, especially things from the Catholic Church. (I was a high school Latin teacher at the time.) Miss Patty wrote me a note and told me she had some things she would gladly send me if I would take the time to write her a letter telling about myself. (I think she wanted to know why a Protestant preacher from Mississippi was trying to start a personal library of Catholic theological writings in Latin.)

I wrote my first letter, and we became fast friends. We’ve been writing back and forth for almost four years now.

Miss Patty has had a very exciting and interesting life. Her birth parents were the son of a prominent physician and the daughter of a “washwoman.” When the doctor found out that the girlfriend of his son was “in the family way,” he said there was no way his son was going to marry the daughter of a poor washwoman. The old man was planning for his son to become a doctor. Patricia’s birth mother was told to go to Memphis to have the baby and also told NOT to bring the baby back with her to Mississippi.

Patricia was born in Memphis General Hospital in 1920. She was born with toxoplasmosis, and it’s a miracle that she lived. After 23 days, an older coupled applied to adopt a baby. Some women took Baby Patty to their house and offered to sell her to the older couple for $500. Her new dad said, “I don’t have $500. I’ve only got $150. Besides, you didn’t bring a casket with her. She doesn’t look to me like she’s going to live.”

The women took the $150 and left on the next train out, and Patty’s new parents took her to the grocery store across the road to get her weighed. It was a cold, snowy day and even with all her poor rags and blankets, Patty only weighed 7 pounds. Miss Patty said she found out much later that they let the healthy, pretty babies be legally adopted out the front door, and the others (like her) they sold out the back door.

I don’t have time or space today to tell the rest of the story. But trust me, in spite of (and perhaps because of) her difficult beginnings, Miss Patty has lived an amazing life. That’s what hahigh beams editppens when you combine a love of God and your fellow man with hard work, perseverance, and a healthy dose of good humor. She describes it this way: “I’ve always lived my life on high beam.” (The picture at the top of this post shows Patty (center) with her brothers.)

So, let your light shine for the Jesus this week…and use your spiritual “high beams.”

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, and until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher is behind on his correspondence, as always.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

The Rockwood Files: What I’ve learned about stage fright

rockwoodfiles2-205x300By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Tomorrow I’m going to attend a luncheon and speak for 20 to 30 minutes to a room full of people. I’m headed to bed early tonight in hopes I’ll be rested and on my “A game” tomorrow.

But we all know the night before a speech is often a restless one. I’ve wasted so many hours lying in bed the night before an event thinking about how much I need to go to sleep, unable to stop internally replaying my presentation over and over again.

The fact that I’m doing the speech at all, though, is a big deal for me. When I say that I was painfully shy as a kid and teenager, I really mean it. I’m sure many of my classmates and teachers assumed I was mute. Shyness was one of the reasons I became a writer. It was just so much easier to talk to people on paper.

It wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized how much that anxiety would hold me back. So I signed myself up for a public speaking course. Being forced to practice public speaking in a class, with the guidance of a teacher, really did help me improve. Did it make me unafraid? Not even a little bit. And I doubt anything will cure me of that.

The fear reminds me of something Jerry Seinfeld talked about in his standup routine. He said, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two! Does that sound right? That means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

In the years since I took that public speaking class in college, I’ve done my share of public speaking – including a couple of eulogies. I’ve emceed a few events, done public readings from my book, made countless business presentations, and I’m now part of a daily radio show. Just like my college professor said, the practice of getting up in front of people has helped more than anything else. Knowing that all those past public speaking events didn’t kill me reassures me that podium and microphoneperhaps I’ll live through the next one, too.

So if you, like me, fear the microphone but don’t want the fear to keep you from taking on opportunities, here are three simple little rules I’ve learned along the way that help me stand behind the podium and deliver.

Remember it’s just a story. You might be calling it a presentation or a keynote address or whatever, but at the heart of any speech is a story. And we’ve been hearing and telling stories since we were little kids. Strip out all the fancy “look how smart I am” language and just tell your story – sincerely, honestly and in a way that lets people know how much you care about it.

Don’t chase rabbits. That means you create a storyline and stick to it, resisting the urge to follow random thoughts down a 20-minute detour. Your audience needs to trust that you value their time, and they can’t do that if you’re busy chasing rabbits.

Give a good show. Any type of public speaking is a performance. Beyond impressive numbers or dazzling facts, audiences want to see a good show. Ask yourself if what you’re preparing is the kind of show you’d want to see.

Finally, remember that most people in the audience are already happy the minute you step up to the podium. Why? They’re immensely relieved that it’s you up there and not them. Break a leg.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Northwest Arkansas Calendar of Events: April 2014

Wizard of Oz, Mirvish Productions TorontoThe Wizard of Oz, WAC

Date: April 1

Time: Varies

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

NWA March for Babies

Date: April 5

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: Arvest Ballpark, Springdale

More info: Click here

Easter Bunny at the NWA Mall

NWA Mall Easter Bunny PhotoSaturday, April 5 – Saturday, April 19*

Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Break from 3 – 4 p.m.)

Saturday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (No break)

Sunday, Noon – 6 p.m. (No break)

*April 18 & 19, 11 a.m. – 8p.m. (No break)

Date: April 5-19

Location: NWA Mall, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Frog Listening Workshop, Part 1 & 2

shiloh museum logoFrogWatch USA regional coordinator Tom Krohn will teach us how to identify frogs and toads by their calls. Find out why frogs are important, why they’re in trouble, and what you can do to help. Pre-registration by April 5 is recommended.

Date: April 8 and April 15

Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

More info: Click here or call 750-8165

Easter Egg Roundup

Date: April 12

Location: Parsons Stadium, Springdale

More info: Click here

Teen Night – Avant Garden Party

Date: April 12

Time: 7-10 p.m.

Location: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

More info: Click here for a listing of teen events

Fluff-Web-Ad-266x375Fluff at Walton Arts Center

Date: April 13

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: Walton Arts Center

More info: Click here

Team Red – Pre-diabetes meeting

On Thursday, April 17th, join your American Diabetes Association from 6:30pm – 7:30 pm for the second Team Red meeting! Learn about prediabetes and ways to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes from a certified diabetes educator. Limited space is available so RSVP now to secure a spot. If you are interested and have yet to sign up for the FREE Team Red program, please contact Olivia at or 479-464-4121. Team Red welcomes anyone and everyone to participate. Together we can Stop Diabetes!

Date: Thursday, April 17

Time: 6:30pm-7:30pm

Location: Rogers Activity Center, 315 W Olive St., Room 207, Rogers

For more info: Click here

Kids Eat Free Family Sundays, NWA Naturals, Dora the Explorer

Kids Eat FREE Family Sundays in 2014 will have various special appearances and all kids will get a chance to run the bases post-game. Dora the Explorer is scheduled to appear on Sunday, April 13, while SpongeBob SquarePants will be at the game on June 22nd.  During the upcoming year, we will also have two (2) Bark in the Ballpark Events presented by Rover Oaks Grooming, and two (2) post-game opportunities to play catch on the field following the games on June 15th and July 6th respectively.  There are also three (3) NEW giveaways scheduled including a special Mother’s Day Picture Frame courtesy of NWA Florist on Sunday, May 11th and two (2) special hat giveaways with one on Father’s Day on June 15th courtesy of OC Sports and our first ever Rally Cap Giveaway courtesy of Smucker’s on Sunday, July 13th.

Date: April 13th

Time: Game starts at 2:05 p.m.

Location: Arvest Ballpark

More info: Click here

14th Annual Glow Run

glow-run-promoDate: April 18

Time: 5 p.m. registration (glow runs later that evening)

Location: Frisco Stage, Downtown Rogers

More info: Click here


Date: April 19

Time: Starts at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast

Location: Dickson Street, Fayetteville

More info: Click here

Race for the Cure

Date: April 26

Location: Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall

More info: Click here

NWA Mom Prom

Mom Prom Are You InDate: April 26

Time: 7 p.m. to midnight

Location: Holiday Inn Ballroom, Springdale

More info: Click here


Mamas Marketplace: Cool stuff for moms and kids

Guest post by Liz Boch

Let’s talk car seats. For me, Jackson arrived on Oct. 29, so I needed to “winterize” his travel as much as possible. And with his stiff neck, I also needed something that would keep him facing forward.

First, I bought a Car Seat Canopy from It buttons to the handle of your seat and is lined too, so Jack stays warm in the cold weather. American Baby magazine has coupon codes in every issue for a free one, so you just pay the $12 for shipping! And, they have more than a dozen styles to choose from.

Then, I bought a Kiddopotamus car seat insert for about $10 on Amazon. One side is lined with fabric to keep Jack warm in the winter and the other side is perfect for summer heat. It keeps his head stationary and lets him grow into the car seat over time.

I like options:

liz car seat collage

Healthy Mama: Struggling with separation anxiety?

separation anxiety

Dr. Matthew Steed and his daughter, Araceli, enjoy a refreshing imaginary drink during a recent tea party.

By Kimberly Steed, RN, MNSc. (woman, nurse, mother of 2 and wife of Dr. Steed)

The last few months I’ve been dealing with SEPARATION ANXIETY. Our oldest child, Glyn, never seemed to have an issue with me leaving or walking away. When and if he did, it was easily resolved. But that hasn’t been the case with our daughter Araceli.

Weekdays I have a sitter who watches her while I work, but every time I left the room she’d seem to have a panic attack! Strategically placed baby gates separate our home and as soon as I stepped over the gate, she suddenly started screaming and pleading, “Mommy, Mommy please don’t go!” It’s not only hard on her but also hard on me. I hated seeing her so upset, so I’d often try to stay with her longer — trying and hoping to her calm down.

Offers of rewards, delaying my exit, holding and hugging her never seem to calm her enough. I found myself getting more stressed, scolding her and even putting her in “time-out.” Over the last few weeks, her separation anxiety has improved and left me wondering if anything I’d done during those first few weeks might have made things worse.

Separation anxiety is a normal stage of development that starts at about 7 months of age. Normal separation anxiety is most common between the ages of 10-18 months and gradually disappears by 3 years of age. Separation anxiety may cause trouble with bedtime, resulting in an anxious, crying, and/or clinging little angel.

The severity and intensity of separation anxiety depends on how well the parent and child reunite, the child and the adult’s coping skills and how well the adult responds to the separation issue. A child of an anxious parent many times will be an anxious child. Separation anxiety is a normal stage of development and is only considered a mental health disorder in approximately 4%-5% of children and adolescents.

I wanted to know how to respond and what actions are helpful and appropriate when dealing with Araceli’s (our) separation anxiety. For a child with normal separation anxiety, here’s what I found:

  • Practice Separating. Leave for brief periods at first.
  • Plan separations after naps or feedings. Separation anxiety occurs more often when babies are tired or hungry.
  • Make up a “goodbye” ritual. Having a ritual reassures your child and can be as simple as a special wave through the window.
  • Keep things familiar. Have the sitter come to your home and when the child is away from home, have them take a familiar object with them.
  • Keep the same primary caregiver. If you hire a caregiver try to keep him or her so your child is not constantly left with someone new.
  • Make leaving simple. Tell your child when you are leaving and let them know that you plan to return and then GO. Don’t stall when it’s time to leave.
  • Reassure and don’t give in. Reassure your child that he or she will be fine while you’re gone. Set limits to help your child adjust.

After doing some research, I stopped letting my daughter know in advance that I’d be leaving. Now I wait until it’s time to leave and I kneel down and tell her I’m leaving, but I’ll be back. I give her a kiss and tell her to be a good girl.

At first she would cry and ask me not to leave. Then she moved on to “I need to tell you something” but couldn’t remember what she wanted to say. :-) Then she started asking me “Mommy, you come back?” Most recently, she is simply waving “Bye, Mommy.” Success at last!

After doing a little homework on this, I’m betting Araceli’s separation anxiety was likely made worse by my initial reactions. Now that we’ve tackled separation anxiety, I guess we should move on to the next issues… Thumb Sucking and Potty Training! Fingers crossed.

Kimberly is married to Mercy physician Dr. Matthew Steed. Dr. Steed’s number one passion is to care for the pregnancy and birthing needs of women. You may call him at the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555 to begin your prenatal care and let him help you enjoy your pregnancy journey. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers. does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about a medical condition. Don’t delay getting professional medical advice because of something you read online. This website doesn’t necessarily recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures or opinions discussed on the site.

Good Gossip: Celeb engagements, weddings and babies on the way

good gossip celebrities

Okay, we admit it. We love a little celebrity gossip but don’t want to do something we teach our kids not to do. It’s never good to indulge in stuff meant to humiliate or hurt another person. That’s why we came up with the concept of “Good Gossip,” which is celeb news minus any mean stuff. Have as much as you want because this “dish” is all guilt-free.

As always, this feature is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. Look for their products at the Walmart Supercenter. Click HERE to like them and get coupons on their Facebook page.

Did we mention that Great Day Farms is once again the lead sponsor for the NWA Mom Prom? It’s scheduled for April 26, 2014. Get the details at Tickets are on sale now!

ashton and milaTwo weeks ago in this Good Gossip column, we wrote about Ashton and Mila’s recent engagement. It seems the good news just keeps coming because now the happy couple is expecting a baby! People magazine reports that the baby is due later this year but still no official confirmation from the couple themselves. They are, however, definitely going to be acting together again on television soon. Mila will be a guest star for an episode of Two and a Half Men later this season.

stacy keiblerMore baby news to report! Stacy Keibler, actress, former contestant on Dancing with the Stars and ex-girlfriend of the elusive George Clooney, is now married and expecting her first baby. Stacy married Jared Pobre during a small beach wedding in Mexico earlier this month. He’s a CEO of a private firm. The newlyweds had been friends for five years before romantic sparks started flying. Stacy said that neither one of them thought they’d ever get married and have kids, adding “When you meet the right person, everything changes.”

kate and will 2014While Mila and Stacy might be busy nesting for expected babies, Royals Kate and Will say that one is enough “for now.” Baby George is crawling now that he’s 8-months-old, but sources say they will probably wait a while before expanding the royal family. Kate has been busy preparing their homes and for an upcoming three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia, starting early next month.

jeff dunhamPopular comedian Jeff Dunham is laughing all the way to the bank. According to a recent issue of People magazine, he is reported to be the fourth-richest comedian, behind legends like Jerry Seinfeld. Dunham says he likes to splurge on charity and also makes sure his kids and ex-wife are well taken care of. He is also an avid collector and collects things including ventriloquist dummies, two Batmobiles and a 10-foot Hulk, which stands on guard in his backyard. He said he also has almost every significant Macintosh computer. Though he doesn’t care for airports, Dunham says all the travel is definitely worth it when he gets on stage again. “I’m one of the luckiest guys on the planet. I love what I do and get paid for it.”

Source: People magazine, March 31, 2014 issue

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day All Natural Eggs. These eggs are produced by happy hens who are fed premium vegetarian diets with no animal fats, animal by-products, or antibiotics. Great Day Farms also offers hard-boiled eggs, which you can find in the deli section of the Walmart Supercenter. (Love the hard-boiled eggs because they’re peeled and ready to eat! Perfect in salads.)

Mealtime Mama: A frozen treat like Wendy’s Frosty


The fact that Spring Break starts today — coupled with the extra sunshine — has us thinking about frozen treats.

Here’s a recipe that’s supposed to taste just like a Wendy’s Frosty, so if  you have an ice cream maker, pull that baby out, dust her off, and try this:

Ice Cream (like Wendy’s)

Image converted using ifftoany1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

1 tub Cool Whip

1/2 gallon chocolate milk

Directions: Mix the sweetened condensed milk and Cool Whip together. Add chocolate milk to the mixture, stir, then pour it into the ice cream maker. Start the ice cream maker, using salt and ice as you would with any other ice cream recipe.

Recipe via Mya Lane from the Feeding the Flock cookbook from the flock at First Baptist Church of Verdigris (Oklahoma)

CLICK HERE to visit the Ozark Natural Foods blog, where you’ll find great tips, recipes and ONF news (like what’s fresh)!


Mamas on Magic 107.9: Gimme a break!

Happy Spring Break week, mamas! Many of us are enjoying a few structure-free days free from school and the usual routine, so this week we’re dedicating the Mamas on Magic segments to all things break-related.

We’ll talk about fun things you can do during Spring Break right here in Northwest Arkansas, so be sure to listen to Monday’s segment. And we’ll also talk about the surprising benefits of taking little “mini-breaks” throughout the day. You’ll hear that on Tuesday.

Listen to Magic 107.9 at 7:45 a.m. Monday through Friday to hear the radio show or click the links below to listen online.

Have a great Spring Break with your kids!

Monday’s segment:

Tuesday’s segment:

Wednesday’s segment:

Thursday’s segment:

Friday’s segment:


Devotion in Motion: For the sake of Christ

“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.

Psalm 51:13 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

I love Church history.  I guess at first glance it sounds boring, but in reality, it is full of all sorts of little stories that are both fascinating and instructive for Christian living. One of my favorite tidbits of history is the tale of a man named Telemachus.

The story of his life teaches us to never underestimate the power of one individual—especially if he is not afraid to publicly declare his convictions with quietness and authority.

Most of us are familiar with the historical accounts of the gladiators. These were the swordsmen who fought to the death in the Roman arena, all for the entertainment of the common people who came to spectate.I think we tend to gloss over the sickening nature of this barbaric entertainment.

St. Telemachus Peace MakerThe people of that time in history had become so calloused that the regular pastimes of life had become boring to them. Did you know that the Latin word “arena” means “sand”?  The floor of the coliseum had a thick layer sand, because this made it easier to cover the blood that flowed from the dying men and animals. It is pretty sickening when you think about it.

But sometime in the 5th century, there was a monk named Telemachus. He lived in a monastery, where he spent his days in prayer, far from the cares and the concerns of the outside world. For some reason unbeknownst to him, Telemachus felt compelled to leave the safety of the cloister and to travel to Roman. As he entered the city, he fell in step with a throng of people who were hurrying to see the gladiatorial games in the arena. His life of solitude and prayer had not prepared him for the viciousness he was about to behold.

As Brother Telemachus witnessed the swordsmen engaged in a struggle to the death, he stood up and made a quiet proclamation:

“For the sake of Christ, somebody put a stop to this.”

As he continued to repeat his sentiment, more and more of the crowd became quiet as they considered what the old man was saying.In anger, one of the gladiators rushed on the old man and ran him through with a sword, as Telemachus cried out his dying words:

“For the sake of Christ, somebody put a stop to this.”

Tradition tells us that the stunned crowd turned and left the coliseum in silence. Not long after that, the Christian Emperor Honorius (who had been impressed by the faith of Telemachus) declared an edict that banned the gladiatorial games forever.

Make the world a little bit better place this week. Believe in what is good, and stand up for what is right.  Speak your truth with authority and quietness.And do it for the sake of Christ.

1John-mugshot-2012Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, and until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the first day of Spring was a perfect Spring day.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).

The Rockwood Files: Recipe for raising kids

rockwoodfiles2-205x300By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Yesterday, as I was standing over the stove stirring boiling macaroni noodles, I asked a question my family hears a lot around our house. “Wonder what I should write about this week. You guys have any ideas?”

When you have a weekly writing deadline, you often pick the brains of those around you, hoping to find a seed of an idea that might grow into something bigger once you give it a little time and attention. Sometimes that happens, but most of the time the family members just stare back at you, shrug their indifferent shoulders and say, “I dunno.” Then they go back to watching cartoons or ESPN.

People who live with writers usually learn, the hard way, that the creative angst leading up to a deadline is inevitable, and it’s best to just stay out of the way until the article is done and the temporary insanity has resolved.

But this time when I went fishing for ideas, I got lucky. Seven-year-old Kate piped up with this simple idea: “Just tell them how to raise kids.”

I laughed out loud when she said it but then quickly realized that she thinks I actually know exactly how to do that – as if I’m following a specific recipe like the one on the back of the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese box. So I recovered quickly and said, “You know, Katie, that’s a good idea. I just might use that.” She beamed about the warm reception and went back to asking me how many more minutes before the mac & cheese would be done.

As I stirred in the packet of gooey cheese, I realized something that all mothers and fathers come to accept at some point during our parenting journey: “I have no idea what I’m doing.” And that’s a scary, humbling, exhilarating reality.

Sure, I learned a few things about parenting from watching my own parents. But they probably didn’t know what they were doing either. And they raised kids before email and iPhones existed, so the playbook has changed significantly.

The terrifying truth is that we’re all just making things up as we go along – tossing ingredients into the pot and hoping the results turn out the way we want.

Part of the reason I don’t like actual cooking is that, even when you follow a detailed recipe, things can always go wrong and, when I cook, they often do. My mother says I’m too uptight in the kitchen, that I should relax, experiment and accept that there’ll be a culinary catastrophe now and then. But I can’t stand the thought of wasting perfectly good ingredients, not to mention the time it takes to put them together.

And that’s just dinner! What if I accidentally screw up the kids – the most important ingredients God ever lends to us? What if I broil when I should have sautéed? What if I add chili powder when what they really needed was sugar? What if this all goes horribly wrong and they fall like ill-fated soufflés?

The stakes are so much higher than just dinner. But even though I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, it’s the most exciting, fulfilling creation I’ve ever been part of. I can hardly wait to see how it all turns out.

So, sweet Kate, thank you for your great idea. One day, perhaps when your kids are growing up, you’ll realize I had no idea what I was doing, and you won’t know either. So here’s my best “recipe” for raising kids:

measuring spoonsTurn oven setting to “Love” and pre-heat to 450 degrees.

Mix sweet babies with wide-eyed parents who’ll do anything to protect them.

Stir in heaping cups of on-the-job training, mistakes, and learning to do better.

Sprinkle generously with extended family, friends and good teachers.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly with time and attention – even while they’re teenagers and they claim not to want your time and attention.

Pour in your heart and soul and bake on high love temperature for as long as you can.

Remove from oven. Learn to “serve” those around you.

And, most of all, enjoy.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Mom Prom News: Table sponsor spotlight on Rene Guin-Salazar

Ladies, we’re working on some beautiful centerpieces for the prom tables this year. We’ll keep you posted as we make our final selections.

We’ll have more tables for taking a rest this year, but we know you’ll want to be up dancing most of the time! We’re getting our playlist polished and our DJ, Frankie, is ready to play your favorite dance songs!

This year we’ll have various businesses sponsoring some of our tables. One of the table sponsors is Rene Guin-Salazar, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette.

Rene was at the prom last year with about 40 other girls. Here’s Rene singing “Don’t Stop Believin’”. She’s the one in the gorgeous white dress with the pretty green necklace:

rene in white dress

And here’s Rene (with red hair this year) when she’s all business:


Rene Logo

Rene said she’s the only realtor in NWA who offers professionally-produced video walk-through tours of homes, which we think is a wonderful way to really experience a home. Rene said it has become a huge bonus to many-out-of-town buyers being transferred to the area. CLICK HERE to see one of the videos that Rene produced for a client.

The videos allow shoppers to ‘walk through’ the home online so they don’t have to rely on pictures alone for actual layout.

“It puts a person in real time directly in a home,” she said.

Spring is a great time to list a home and Rene, a full-time realtor, said she’d love for sellers to give her a call. A mom of four, Rene said she can also help any buyer through the process as well.

“I set each buyer up with their own personal website that mirrors back to me with their comments, rejections, etc. This really helps keep their personal search organized,” she said.

CLICK HERE to visit Rene’s website. THANK YOU for believin’ in the Mom Prom and being a table sponsor this year, Rene!

How to start gardening with your kids

Once we get through the blustery days of March, it becomes much easier to get the whole family outdoors. When the south winds start to blow, be prepared to garden with the kiddos. We’ve heard over and over again that children are more likely to eat vegetables if they have a hand in growing them, and there’s no better time to get started than spring, when everyone is already energized by the change in seasons.

The key to getting started is preparation. When you are ready to plant, you want to plant, not go shopping for supplies. If you want to be ready to go when the weather is right, make sure you have your plans in place and all the supplies you may need.

  • Location: Where do you want to plant your spring veggies? Can you set aside a section of a flower bed to plant? How about some containers? Most spring vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers, so if you don’t want to work up soil, a large container will do.  If possible, select a location in full-sun to provide the best environment for your plants.
  • Soil amendments: Healthy plants require healthy soil, so purchasing organic compost Is necessary. Add a ½ inch layer to the top of your garden space before planting, gently working it into the top few inches of your soil with a shovel. Better yet, get those kiddos out there with their tools and let them play in the dirt! For container-growing, fill containers with equal parts organic compost, high-quality garden soil and ve
    gardening with kids

    Leaf lettuce is beautiful and easy to grow.


  • Select seeds and plants: Know what you want to grow before you get to the garden center. The available choices can be overwhelming and novice gardeners may not know what is appropriate for the season. Select just a few cool season crops, think green, leafy veggies. Kale, lettuce and swiss chard are easy and quick to grow from seed, as well as some root veggies like radishes and turnips. When it’s time for summer planting we will talk about growing garden favorites like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. It’s a bit early for them yet.

With all supplies on-hand, you are ready to plant when the next beautiful day comes along. Sow seeds according to the spacing recommendations on the seed package and always water well after planting. Check for seed germination frequently, and water regularly so tiny seedlings don’t dry out.

Encourage your children to keep a garden journal and record growth according to their age. I am a big fan of botanical prints, particularly those drawn by tiny hands. What a fun way to not only record your garden growth, but also record your child’s development. If I could encourage you to do anything it is this: Enjoy the process. Weeds will grow and critters will feast, but seeds are cheap and it’s fun to play in the dirt. If things go wrong, just plant more seeds!

Tiffany Selvey is a Master Gardener who writes about her passion for growing, cooking, and living naturally When she’s not elbow deep in soil, she enjoys raising a very active son, laughing with her husband, and wrangling their pets. Follow Tiffany’s gardening adventures on facebook, instagram and on twitter.